London: Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani has told a UK court that suggestions of his lavish tastes are speculative. Anil Ambani told the court he does not live lavishly but follows a ‘very disciplined’ lifestyle. Ambani was giving evidence in a dispute involving a loan agreement with three Chinese banks.
The 61-year-old former billionaire appeared Friday via videolink from Mumbai before the High Court. He had to attend a compulsory cross-examination in aid of an asset disclosure order obtained by three Chinese banks. They are Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd Mumbai Branch, China Development Bank and Exim Bank of China.
The order required Ambani to give full disclosure of all of his assets worldwide exceeding USD 100,000.
“My needs are not vast and my lifestyle is very disciplined,” Ambani told the London court. He was asked about his fleet of luxury cars and other references to his lavish lifestyle. However, the Reliance Communications chief dismissed them as ‘speculative’ media stories.
“Mr Anil Ambani has always been a simple man of simple tastes. There have always been exaggerated perceptions of his flamboyance and lavish lifestyle,” said a spokesperson for Ambani.
“He is devoted to his family and company, an avid marathon runner, and deeply spiritual. He is also a lifelong vegetarian, teetotaller and non-smoker. He would much rather watch a movie at home with his kids than go out on the town. Reports that suggest otherwise are completely misleading,” the spokesperson added.
The dispute revolves around an alleged breach of a personal guarantee on a company debt refinancing loan of around USD 925 million dating back to February 2012. Ambani denies providing authority for any such guarantee, resulting in the High Court action in the UK – the jurisdiction agreed upon as part of the terms of the loan agreement.
In May, the Commercial Division of the High Court of England and Wales in London had ruled that the personal guarantee was binding on Ambani and directed him to pay early USD 717 million to the three Chinese banks.
“The banks will use the information from the cross-examination to pursue all available legal avenues to protect their rights and recover the outstanding loans owed to them,” the banks said in a statement this week.